The foundation of Untitled263 is layers of creativity, all our features exhibit that in their own unique ways. We seek to tell these creative stories and export them to other parts of the world, as love letters from Zimbabwe. We encountered a love letter that the world will definitely love and reciprocate. Authored by Miji Kayombo, she expresses her love through crocheting in a unique and cool way. We got to spend some time with her and learn how she stitched items together and in turn stitch our narrative into the books of history. Such a bubbly creative filled with hope for Zimbabwe and a drive that will see her do some amazing work in the years to come, here is the love letter:
Let’s start right at the core, what’s your definition of fashion?
Self-expression through craft that we show off in various ways. There’s an array of fashion types and each type has a different meaning, a different feel and look. I believe fashion tells stories, shows off talent, shows off technique and is one of the best ways for one to express their creativity. It’s a whole form of art that I’m glad to be a part of. It’s a never ending cycle of creativity and imagination and there literally is no limit to what you can do with fashion.
Do you remember the first time you picked up a crochet hook?
I was actually pretty young, about nine or ten years old. My mother is a crocheter and I was always fascinated watching her make different things. She says I nagged her to teach me and well, here I am! I can knit but there is something about crocheting that I prefer, the uniqueness of it and the skill required.
So, I started making small things like hats and scarves for my family and friends and that was pretty much it. Then after university I took up crocheting and this time more seriously and started with bikini tops and since then I’ve learnt (and am still learning) how to make more interesting pieces.
Everyone associates crocheting with the old fashioned doilies, I saw beyond all that and taught myself how to make fashionable and trendy items.
What drives you?
My potential. After tapping into something I sat on for so long, I realized l that I can actually earn something from my crochet craft. I’ve always been taught that if you seriously put your mind to something with the right drive and focus you can achieve it. I’m also driven by fellow crocheters and seeing what they have achieved. Knowing that if I push myself just as hard I can do that too or better yet, surpass my expectations too!
With what you have achieved so far, we have no doubt you will! This issue is themed FOCUS as we are trying to find out how Zim Creatives keep their eyes on the ball, what’s required for one to stay in their lane and aim for their goals successfully?
Know what you want. Stick to that. Once you have a set goal next step is to find the right source of encouragement and drive. From there, it will be easier for you to keep your eyes on the ball. Don’t stop learning and trying out new things in your field. Trial and error is what I live by and I try not to be discouraged when pieces don’t come out the way I want. I also believe in learning from others. Partnerships are important. Even with people in your field, people with experience that could help you better your work.
Still on goals, how do you keep grounded in your vision in a world where fashion dynamics are ever changing?
I think what keeps me grounded is the awareness I have of the fact that I am not the only person in my field. Sometimes the changing dynamics may be a source of inspiration and other times it may even be competition. As long as I look at both of these aspects in a positive way, it helps me stay true to my vision, redefining it where I see fit.
No doubt fashion dynamics are always changing, hence I follow a lot of crocheters and bloggers for inspiration and guidance. I watch lots of videos and I am grasping many ideas while learning new stitching methods through all of that. Amidst being inspired and keeping up with global fashion trends, I’m always trying to find the best ways to still bring out my personality in my work so as to keep my pieces interesting and not monotonous.
Do you have favourite strategies for tracking your goals?
I love writing. I jot down all my ideas (good and bad) in my bullet journal that I carry everywhere. I believe in being organised to the very last detail. I also have applications I use that have helped me keep track of my orders, inventory of my supplies and even maintain good relationship with my suppliers.
Furthermore, I believe that crocheting is not always a one man job. So when I need help I ask for it. I’ve partnered with my mother on many projects and that has helped me reach many of my goals and deadlines.
There is a huge gap between the Zimbabwean fashion scene and the international industry despite our abundance in creativity. How can we best bridge that gap and showcase the Zimbabwean narrative to the world?
Well, magazines such as yours are a major help in putting creatives on the world map! I cannot thank you enough for featuring me on such a great platform.
And yes, we do have creativity in abundance. I think what creates the gap is the people, not the fashion. Our fashion industry is so vast and diverse with amazing work from various creatives. We need more people to have a better understanding of fashion and what it expresses for them to accept it on a wider scale. Mindsets need to be broadened in a way that allows all the creativity we have huddled up to be accepted and showcased in a larger scale. That way, the reach will be broader and soon enough bigger on the International scene. It begins with us. Being out of the box, having an appreciation for what all our creatives do and showcasing the greatness that Zimbabweans produce in a daily basis.
Oh thank you for appreciating our work, the world will know about you. Now diving a bit more into fashion and crocheting, how would you describe your personal style of crocheting?
I like bright pieces and at the same time practical pieces that everyone can relate to. I describe my style of pieces as those that exude confidence. I love the hippie era that has lots of tassels, beading and fascinating trinkets. I like crocheting in the old fashion way that was done by our grandmothers but in a fashionable way. I love the boho chic look with vibrant energy and confidence. Easy to dress up and down!
Your brand in the next 10 years?
I want to create employment. Our local communities have so many talented people that would be instrumental in partnerships that are advantageous to everyone involved. The best way I can do that Is through expansion. Employment rates in Zimbabwe are extremely low and if we can’t find the jobs we might as well create them! Biting a big piece and trying everything in my power to chew it! In order to achieve all this, I must challenge myself beyond my wildest dreams and grow with people who have the same vision as I. I would like to be part of a better Zimbabwe and I strive to work hard to contribute to this nation in the best way possible come 2029.